Oregon bill would implement suicide hotline tax

New legislation in Oregon would apply a 50-cent tax on all phone lines in order to fund the state's behavioral health and suicide crisis hotline, The Corvallis Advocate reported April 6. 

The hotline is currently being funded by a one-time budget allocation of $15 million, which proponents of the bill believe is not enough to permanently support the hotline. 

Five other states are considering a similar tax, and another five already have a tax in place for behavioral health crisis hotlines. 

The state already charges a $1.25 tax on phone lines for 911 calls. 

Lawmakers initially sought $1.25 for the behavioral health line, but the amount was lowered due to objections from telecommunication companies. 

Those opposed to the bill, including the telecommunications industry, believe it will cause financial hardship for Oregon citizens, according to the publication.

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